Wadada Leo Smith: Ankhrasmation Symbolic Language: Earth
Exhibition January 26- April 9, 2018

Exhibition opening 6 pm
Artist talk 7pm

During the 1960s and early ’70s, Wadada Leo Smith was was a key member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). Largely recognized as a watershed organization in the history of jazz, the AACM is known for crafting a vibrant dialectic between improvised and formally scored music. Smith was one the most active and articulate proponents of this exchange, legitimizing a formal ideology around improvised music and the illustrated score that he continues to build on to this day. Ankhrasmation—a neologism formed of “Ankh,” the Egyptian symbol for life, “Ras,” the Ethiopian word for leader, and “Ma”, a universal term for mother­­—is the systemic musical language that Smith has developed over nearly 50 years. The scores eschew (and at times incorporate) traditional notation in favor of symbolic compositions of color, line, and shape. These provide specific instruction for the seasoned improvisor while allowing musicians to bring their own special expertise and individual strengths to each performance.

The exhibition is a collaboration with the McIntire Departments of Art and Music at the University of Virginia. More information about the residency can be found http://www.virginia.edu/art/arts-admin/wadadaleosmith.

The opening reception is a collaboration with the President’s Commission on Slavery at the University Memorial to Enslaved Workers project. The event will feature an update about the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers.